Exploring the City of Nawabs: Lucknow

Once the capital of Awadh, Lucknow still resonates with the glory of nawabs and the aroma of the kebabs. To explore this city one can expend a lifetime but I am trying to share the heart and soul of Lucknow so as to fully understand what is in store for us at Lucknow.

1. Rumi Darwaza: To start the exploration of this lovely city it is best to start at a gateway as beautiful and attractive as the Rumi Darwaza. This gateway is very much in use till date unlike the other gateways in many Indian cities. One can see locals rushing past through the darwaza but I suggest it is a place to spend time examining and admiring the creation. This gateway was built by Nawab Asaf-ud-daulah in 1784 and till date stands tall as one of the finest structure in Lucknow.

2. Bara Imambara: Its time to get awed by this massive structure, Bara Imambara, which was completed in 1791 and was a relief measure to provide employment to the famine struck people of Awadh. It is a structure of architectural marvel as the ceiling of the this grand structure is without any beam. Locals call this place as “Bhool Bholaiya” as the building houses a central chamber with eight chambers surrounding the same. These chambers and passages that are interconnected form the effect of maze thus got its local name.

Bara Imambara. Image Courtesy Flickr Bara Imambara. Image Courtesy Flickr

3. Tunde ke Kebab: The chowk is the heart and soul of old Lucknow and the soul of the market is undoubtedly food. And when food and Lucknow are spoken together one cannot miss talking about Tunde ke kebab. These kebabs has reputation as strong and good as Lucknow’s heritage. When at the shop one can enjoy these sumptuous delicacies as well as stories of the shopkeeper. As per him these kebabs are so finely minced because Nawab Asaf-ud-daulah lost his teeth early in life but he did not loose out his taste buds and yearning for the kebabs. Thus came into existence the Gulati kebabs which melt in your mouth without the use of teeth.

4. The Residency: Residency is the place that has a group of buildings that once was the adobe of the British Resident at the court of Nawab. The Archaeological Survey of India needs to be applauded for maintaining the sanctity of this structure in the same form as left by the British.

5. Dilkusha: Do not miss to check out the building in the quietest parts of the city-the Dilkusha. The construction is very British as was built by the then Resident as a hunting lodge and was later on converted into a summer palace for the Nawab. Later on in 1857 this building suffered damage due to a excessive fighting. Today it is one of the serene locations for unwinding amidst lush green lawns.

6. Hazratganj: To hang out in Hazratganj, popularly known as “Ganjing” in local lingo, is the best time of exploring Lucknow. It is a best place for all shopaholics as best of the outlets of Indian handicrafts are available here. But not to miss out that Hazratganj is also a foodie’s delight as it offers options for fast food as well as authentic food like the Lucknawi Biryani, Afgani Prantha, Nargisi Kebabs, dahi aalo tikki and Pani Batashas.

Do plan a two day trip to check out this city of Nawabs and kebabs completely. And I bet everyone visiting Lucknow will be completely engulfed in the indulgent spirit of this royal city.

Author: Resham Virk

Resham virk has served as a Captain in the Indian army for 5 years and has explored the best parts of India while in the Army. Daughter and wife of an Army officer, her tryst with Indian cultures and heritage is still not complete. She has been part of the retail industry as the Inventory controller of Walmart India stores but presently she is a full time homemaker satiating her desire to explore new things, places and to pen down so as to share.


  1. Is there any other specific items that we can shop at Lucknow except the chikankari kurta and dresses?

    • Do not miss out purchasing the varied range of ‘Attar’ or perfumes from Lucknow. Get yourself some gem studded jewelry and jhumkas (earrings), they look awesome with the traditional outfits. Also, do not forget to taste the vast variety of breads (rotis).
      If you don’t get the flavor of the aforesaid, you would miss out a lot of Lucknow…

  2. Interesting historical information about Lucknow, it is truly amazing to read about Nawabs.

  3. I read about Kebabs, but never tried it. Is the Kebabs famous in Lucknow?

  4. Had heard about these Tunde ki kabab from variuos sources. Must try it out once.

  5. Shrishti says:

    Luckhnow is a beautiful city, The monuments of Luckhnow remind us of its Nawabs and their lifestyle.

  6. Very informative .

  7. Shrishti says:

    I like the Lakhnavi dresses, embroidery work in clothes and jutis, perfumes and itars and not to forget the food which is rich in taste and aroma.

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